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NDSU Bookstore Gains More Used Books with Blitz Buys

Posted by Stephanie Kubas on 11/11/12 10:00 PM
Topics: buyback, college store customer service, used books, college store stories

Between rogue buyers and online retailers, students now have plenty of options when it comes to where to sell their books. That’s why it’s so important that college stores continually evolve their buyback strategy.

North Dakota State University Bookstore is one store that is determined to do just that. For the past four semesters, they’ve implemented what they refer to as ‘Blitz Buys,’ or creating remote locations at large lecture halls on campus, in an attempt to gain more retail titles at their buyback.

“We’re kind of a rebel store, we’re always looking for new ways to do things,” explained Carl Wichman, assistant director, book department. “The Blitz Buys started as just another idea to try out.”

Being proactive, the store identifies large classes with a textbook that they know will be reused. Staff members then contact the professors of those classes and work with them to coordinate a remote buyback specific to the class after their final.

“We try for around six Blitz Buys each semester and they’re typically only for our larger, lower level freshmen and sophomore classes,” he said. “We have to schedule them carefully to ensure we have a buyer available at that time, but they’re very effective.”

The store then sends one buyer and one student employee, who helps box the books, to each location. The buys, which typically take place during finals week or the ‘dead week’ before, are mostly retail.

“Usually about 95% of what we get back is the specific title from that class, but we do accept anything students have with them; we usually get a random textbook here or there,” he added.

Using this strategy, the store has seen a significant increase in the titles bought back from the classes that are included in their Blitz Buys.

“The feedback has been really positive. It’s so convenient for students, and that’s what we’re all about,” stressed Wichman. “We want to offer the best customer service, so we’re always looking for new ways to simplify the process.”

Students aren’t the only ones who have taken notice of the initiative, however.

“We’ve even had a couple of professors ask if we’ll be doing it again this semester, which is great!” he added.

Based on the success of their program, Wichman and his staff are already exploring other options for future buybacks.

“We have several other existing remote locations in place, but we’re hoping to expand that further,” he explained. “NDSU recently became a Division 1 school, which has brought a major tailgating atmosphere to campus. We purchased a trailer to sell spirit wear at games. We’re now looking into how we can use that to travel around campus during finals and purchase books right from the trailer!”

Regardless of what strategies they employ in the future, Wichman is sure one thing will continue:

“We’ll do whatever it takes to meet our students’ needs. The more used books we purchase during buyback, the more we can stock on our shelves, so we’ll continue finding new ways to make our buyback even better!”

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